conflict and unrest

Writing Tip: Hope and Despair

Hello! Today I wanted to share a writing tip I learned in my fiction class because it’s something that really clicked with me.

The Push and Pull of Hope and Despair 

This means always having both hope and despair in a scene. In the moments of hope, the brightest moments, the character should still be experiencing a small sting of despair. In the darkest moments, the moments of despair, there is still a flicker of hope. 

Without despair in the hope, there is lack of tension and conflict. Nothing is at unrest. The story might as well stop now, because the character doesn’t feel that painful twinge of conflict even if it’s small. Without hope in the despair, at those incredibly dark moments we will feel the story is too hopeless to be realistically resolved, there will be nothing to drive the protagonist forward. 

Despair in the hope keeps the reader going–conflict is what makes a story interesting. Hope in the despair keeps the character going–they need to maintain the possibility of resolution, or at least some sense of hope, in order to remain active and try to achieve their goal. 

Think of your story as an interplay of hope and despair. As the protagonist finds moments of hope, the despair fades but never disappears. As they fall into despair, the hope remains a pulse in the background that keeps them moving forward. 

There is despair in the hope, and there is hope in the despair. One without the other isn’t satisfying, since it’s their interaction–their push and pull–that drives the story forward. 


Giraffes are on their way to becoming extinct — thanks to humans

  • There’s a troubling new report from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on giraffes.
  • The global giraffe population is shrinking fast, and giraffes may be on their way to extinction.
  • According to the IUCN’s report, “the global giraffe population has plummeted by up to 40% over the last 30 years,” which represents a “devastating decline.”
  • Giraffes are under threat from “illegal hunting, habitat loss and changes through expanding agriculture and mining, increasing human-wildlife conflict, and civil unrest.” Read more

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CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, Bangui : Children take cover as gunshots erupt during an operation in the Boy-rabe neighborhood of Bangui, Central African Republic, on February 15, 2014. French and African peacekeepers on Saturday seized weapons from militia in the capital of the strife-torn Central African Republic, but failed to detained a wanted leader of the rogue groups. The international troops went house to house for about four hours in Bangui’s Boy Rabe neighbourhood, the base of mostly Christian militias whose attacks have driven many minority Muslims from the city in recent weeks, sparking warnings of “ethnic cleansing”. AFP PHOTO / FRED DUFOUR

Elemental Peace Spell

[Part of “A Compendium of Witch War Tips”]

You’ll need an object/s from each element. See: (Alternative And Classical Elemental Representations) That, or you could get a candle representing each element.


  1. Identify what the problems and conflicts are. Have a clear and solid understanding of what it is you’re getting rid of. You may say them aloud.
  2. Gather the fire element in your hands, and say “By the power of fire, these conflicts burn to ash. As it is my will, so shall it be.”
  3. Send off the fire element to do its work.


  1. Identify the people/parties involved in the conflict. You may say their names aloud.
  2. Gather the water element in your hands, and say “By the power of water, let peace overflow, and wash away unrest. Let friendship and harmony take place. As it is my will, so shall it be.”
  3. Send off the water element to do its work.


  1. Think of the same people for the Water part.
  2. Gather the air element in your hands, and say “By the power of air, I blow away all troubles. Let all concerned communicate with clarity so peace may thrive. As it is my will, so shall it be.”
  3. Send off the air element to do its work - perhaps even by blowing.


  1. Visualize a peaceful future - one wherein your spell has succeeded in incinerating the conflict, wash away unrest and blown out the trouble between the involved parties. Feel the happiness and contentment as though your spell has already succeeded.
  2. Gather the earth element, and all the remaining energy in the area in your hands, and say “By the power of earth, I ground this situation. Let harmony be restored, and things remain in such state of order.”
  3. Imprint your visualization/power thought into this condensation of energy. If you feel the visualization has been saturated enough into your being, you may blow your intent out into the ball - imprinting your intent onto it.
  4. Say “As it is my will, so shall it be.”
  5. Send off the energy to do its work.

“Conflict, ill will, terror fly/So peace, harmony and love may thrive.
Peace. Peace. Peace.”

while dwelling on the visualization earlier. Keep at it until you feel all that can be done has been done.

SYRIA, ALEPPO : Syrian girls, carrying school bags provided by UNICEF, walk past the rubble of destroyed buildings on their way home from school on March 7, 2015 in al-Shaar neighbourhood, in the rebel-held side of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Heavy fighting shook the Syrian city of Aleppo on march 6, 2015 as the exiled opposition chief said for the first time that President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster need not be a pre-condition for peace talks.    AFP PHOTO / AMC / ZEIN AL-RIFAI                        

SYRIA, Douma : Children gesture during an event at a psychological support centre organised by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in the besieged rebel bastion of Douma, northeast of the Syrian capital Damascus, on November 27, 2014. Douma, has been under government siege for more than a year, with residents facing dwindling food and medical supplies. AFP PHOTO / ABD DOUMANY

HEBRON : The clothes of a Palestinian student from Hebron University burn after he set himself on fire while throwing a Molotov cocktail towards Israeli soldiers and border police during clashes after the protesters blocked the main north entrance of the West Bank town of Hebron with stones and tyres on October 13, 2015. The rising tide of unrest, which has seen a series of stabbing attacks and violent protests, has raised fears that a full-scale third Palestinian uprising, or intifada, could erupt. AFP PHOTO / HAZEM BADER                        

UKRAINE, Donetsk : A coffin and a stretcher stand outside the mortuary of Donetsk’s Kalinina hospital on March 5, 2015. Ukraine observed a day
of mourning after 32 miners perished in a blast in the notoriously
dangerous mine of Zasyadko just a few kilometres from the frontline,
where Kiev is reporting an increase in attacks by pro-Russian

From 1998 to 2011, photographer Jason Howe covered conflicts in Colombia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, where he took this image of a wounded British soldier who had stepped on an IED. Though he felt an obligation to document such horrors, the constant danger and stress of the job eventually led him into a deep depression. ‘My pictures hadn’t made any difference, so I couldn’t see the point to anything,’ he says. ‘Why bother getting up? Why bother washing?’

Read more and watch a short film about Howe: War Photographer Jason Howe’s battle with PTSD, via Telegraph